Workhuman survey reveals Ireland ranks among the worst in Europe for employee burnout

Workhuman®, the company revolutionising the way employees celebrate, connect with and appreciate each other in the workplace, has announced the results of a survey which paints a worrying picture of employee wellbeing in Ireland. It found that employees in Ireland are suffering from burnout and stress more often than those in other European countries and are the least likely to be “thriving”. Wellbeing is a basic requirement for all — and closely linked to organisational outcomes. This research lifted the lid on how organisations that use the power of gratitude are bucking the trend in Ireland.

Gallup carried out the large-scale study among more than 12,000 employees in 11 European countries and the U.S. It found that three in 10 employees in Ireland report being burnt out “very often” or “always”, on par with the U.K. and Belgium. All other countries surveyed were found to have lower levels of employee burnout. Just 1.5 in 10 in Switzerland say they are burnt out “very often” or “always”.

Furthermore, the research found that workers in Ireland are the most likely of all countries surveyed to report being stressed, with 6.5 in 10 saying they experienced stress during “a lot” of the previous day. Along with Belgium, the same figure reported to have experienced worry for a lot of the previous day. Again, this was more than all other countries surveyed, with respondents in the U.S. the least likely to experience worry a lot of the previous day.

Meanwhile, just 4.5 in 10 employees in Ireland, Belgium and Norway are “thriving” — meaning that they rate their current lives positively and have optimistic expectations for their future wellbeing. Respondents in all other countries are more likely to be thriving, with six in 10 in the Netherlands and Denmark describing themselves as thriving.

Workhuman and Gallup’s research found that the majority of employees in Ireland are unlikely to feel strong connections with their colleagues or feel a sense of belonging in their workplace. Just two in 10 strongly agree that they have meaningful connections with their coworkers, while 2.5 in 10 strongly agree that they belong at their organisation.

Despite the concerning responses from employees in Ireland, the study revealed insights into how gratitude is helping organisations in Ireland to positively influence employee wellbeing. It found that when employees strongly agree that recognition is equitably distributed at their organisation, they are 72% more likely to be thriving and 75% less likely to be burnt out “very often” or “always”.

Meanwhile, employees working at organisations with a recognition programme are 53% more likely to be thriving and 51% more likely to strongly agree that they have meaningful connections at work. Giving thanks was also found to boost morale. The survey found that employees who give recognition at least a few times a month are 84% more likely to be thriving and 3.5 times more likely to strongly agree that they have meaningful connections at work.

Niamh Graham, SVP Global Human Experience, Workhuman, said: “Organisations in Ireland are facing a people crisis. At a time when they are battling to recruit and retain the best talent, their workforces are burnt out, highly stressed and feeling disconnected from their coworkers and company. Wellbeing is not just important to individuals; it is critical to organisational culture and business outcomes. Its absence comes with a serious price tag, as it hinders employee productivity and engagement, while also leading to high turnover rates.

“Businesses in Ireland must address employee wellbeing now. Clearly, the rollout of hybrid working policies is not enough to keep employees happy and healthy. They must feel valued and understand that their work is meaningful. Our research shows that showing appreciation and gratitude and something as simple as saying ‘thanks’ can have an enormous impact both on the recipient and the giver.

“Businesses today must cater to the whole person and make recognition a formal part of their human capital strategy. Investment in a recognition platform, like Workhuman, empowers employees to recognise each other through formal and informal channels to showcase and elevate human workplace connectivity, community, engagement and ultimately positively fuelling morale, wellness, productivity, innovation and retention. It is an investment in business results, as well as the people who will drive that success.”

See more stories here.